“Ancestry” is the big buzz word these days. So many of my friends are getting their DNA analyzed to uncover the tantalizing mysteries of identity. It’s a natural desire to know one’s pedigree and lineage. There’s no question that this is an age of unprecedented privilege complete with the ability to track genomes across the planet. Admittedly, it’s fascinating to pull on the cultural strains and see how your own blueprint is interwoven with many vivid strands. We think we know ourselves, but DNA has a scorching truth to tell that may shatter some of our most cherished conceptions. We’re encompassed by the shadow of past generations, and occasionally have the unnerving sensation they are very close indeed. I’m talking about the same description found in the Scripture from last week:
“As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds.” Hebrews 12:1
Last week, I compared the infinite, churning mass of the virtual world to this great thicket of witnesses. And so they are. But it’s not just about this generation. The cloud has long been accumulating; infinite forerunners and progenitors that shaped the blood lines of who we are today; countless believers have run their course and received their reward. Intriguingly, we are told that these honored denizens of Heaven are now leaning over the balcony, watching our progress with passionate interest and intent. They’re invested, having passed us the baton of faith.
But let’s be wise. As exciting as it is to venture down the ancestral trail, there are also grave dangers. We can be too absorbed with the world of the dead. These are ancient pitfalls. Modern sophistication may scoff, but the delineation between innocent research and disproportionate fascination is a very fine line indeed. In case we’ve forgotten, real agents promoting necromancy (the consulting of the spirits of dead ancestors for current help) are already present in the intimate conclave of family life. Most families unknowingly harbor a Familiar Spirit; a demonic entity assigned to specifically target the carnal weaknesses of our bloodlines and keep us bound in iniquity, tradition, and dark generational bondages. Familiar spirits use the undue attention paid to ancestors to usurp the rightful place of the Holy Spirit as the Comforter and guide of our lives. They quench the prophetic and oracular voice we require to walk refreshed in new hope every day. It is possible to build this shrine to the past within our hearts that deeply provokes and offends the Lord.
Isaiah 65 (19:3, 8:19) describes the gloomy, mindset of dread that overtakes a people when they look too much to the past and their ancestral identity rather than calling on the Living God. You think I’m being extreme? Revisit the teaching of Deuteronomy 18:9-14, where the Lord identifies the demonic manifestations and occult practices which characterize and dominate pagan environments. These are the practices that got the Canaanites exterminated. The ‘deep things of Satan’ are on a meteoric rise in our generation, masquerading in many benign forms, and beguiling the ignorant, so understand the territory you are dipping your toes so gleefully into. I’m a Christian, you say! Of course, I’m not doing this! Really? Don’t forget this fact: Attention is worship, and demons receive it as such (1 Corinthians 10:20). If you spend more time working backwards, digging into the past, than pressing prophetically into the high call of Christ right now in your life, count on it; an unhealthy attachment exists somewhere. You are looking for something you feel you cannot find by pursuing your faith in Christ.
As engrossing and wondrous as genetics are, they have now been entirely superseded by the supernatural miracle of rebirth. Any believer in Christ is a regenerated creature, so when we look into bloodlines, we are researching what is carnal…already dead and buried, even within our own lives. Colossians 3:1-3 puts it this way:
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
On resurrection morning, as the women rushed to the tomb to embalm Jesus, and angel greeted them with these words: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but He is risen.” Luke 24:5-6
“He is not here”. He is not here among the deceased. The Savior is living and active and entirely resurrected in you, right now. The bias of our faith, the cutting edge of our growth, is not to be found in the desiccated tombs of our ancestors. Dusty documents of the past do not disclose our destiny. Some clues may be found in genetics, but they are dark and befouled; the wormy, carnal carcass of a fallen nature. We’d better ask ourselves…’what are we really searching for?’ Why are we not consulting the Holy Spirit instead for the enlightenment and revelation we require, rather than looking backwards?
If you have ancestors who were believers, they are now leaning over the balustrades of Heaven, cheering you on, and I assure you, they are not crying out “Look at us! Look at us!” They are uninhibitedly bellowing “Look to Him! Look to Jesus!” Just as Mary herself would be utterly vexed to see how much attention is being lavished on her instead of devotion to her son, Jesus, so our patriarchs would happily fade into the background of His glory.
So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. Hebrews 12:1-2